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West End Zoning Lawsuit Dismissed

LONG BRANCH: A Superior Court Judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city by a local attorney.

Scott Kelly, an attorney whose private law practice is located in West End, filed suit against Long Branch and the Long Branch Mayor and Council on June 17, 2015 in Monmouth County Superior Court.

Kelly argued that the city's West End Overlay District zoning ordinance was "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable" and that the city used "spot zoning" by adopting the ordinance.

"Generally defined, spot zoning is a municipal entity's use of the statutory zoning power to benefit particular private interests rather than to benefit the collective interests of a community as a whole," the lawsuit states.

City Attorney James Aaron said Judge Dennis R. O'Brien, Superior Court, dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety and said that the passage of the ordinance was neither arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable nor spot zoning.

"The judge said the proof actually showed quite the opposite," Aaron said.

Kelly could not be reached for comment this week.

The Long Branch Council passed the zoning amendment ordinance last year which now allows both institutional and residential uses on the second floor of retail buildings in a large area of West End.

Long Branch Businesses Administrator Kevin Hayes said now that the litigation has been "put to bed," he expects that Chabad Of The Shore will soon move forward on a mixed use project which includes retail on the first floor and religious uses on the second and third floors in West End. Chabad Of The Shore, a non-profit religious and educational institution currently located at 620 Ocean Ave., received site plan approval for their planned construction at 602-624 Ocean Ave. during the Oct. 5 planing board meeting.

Hayes said he expects the group to begin demolishing those buildings in the near future.

Other plans for West End that will likely be moving forward soon include the construction of a new home for the Bagel Guys Deli on Brighton Avenue, another mixed use building along the road, and a performing arts theater where the old West End School is currently located.

Read more from: Long Branch

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